Toward a Socio-cognitive Theory of Innovation: A Model of Technology as Practice (TAP)

By J. Scott Hauger.

Published by The Technology Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The need for a robust theory of innovation has been recognized by STS scholars for more than twenty-five years. The scholarly consensus is that an effective
theory of innovation must understand technology as a socially embedded representation of knowledge. The work of Ludwig Wittgenstein and subsequent scholars suggests that a model of technology as practice can provide an epistemological basis for developing a socio-cognitive theory of innovation. Acceptance of the hypotheses that technology is a form of knowledge and that knowledge is expressed in behavior provides the foundation for a model of innovation that links the creation of new knowledge with social and economic impacts. The model of technology as practice (TAP model) presented here is a
representation of technological knowledge as behavior. It is an empirically-based model that has been employed in a number of studies to characterize technologies, to identify critical variables for successful innovation, and to evaluate design alternatives. The TAP model has several advantages as an analytic tool: It can account for innovation outcomes
that economic models cannot easily address. It can be used to address the impacts of technological change on both adopters and on the broader society. It can provide the unit of analysis for a broader, knowledge-based theory of innovation that will be developed and reported in subsequent papers.

Keywords: Technology, Practice, Model, Epistemology, Innovation

The International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp.205-214. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 647.750KB).

Dr. J. Scott Hauger

Research Professor, Science, Technology and Policy, Hydrologic Sciences, Desert Research Institute, Reno, NV, USA

Dr. Hauger is a scholar in science policy and the history and philosophy of science, whose doctoral training was in Science and Technology Studies (STS) at Virginia Tech, subsequent to prior graduate study in chemistry and American history. He has 30 years' experience as principal investigator on federal R&D grants and contracts in a variety of programs related to technological innovation and technology assessment. He has served as faculty member at Virginia Tech, where he established a branch graduate program in STS at the Northern Virginia Graduate Center. He has broad experience in program administration in science and technology policy through his programmatic responsibilities at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and as Vice President for Government and Business Relations at DRI. He was founder and CEO of Applied Concepts Corp., a successful small business firm providing research and development services related to technology evaluation and innovation.

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